The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle

The Fox Girl and the White  Gazelle Front Cover   Victoria Williamson re

Writing a novel is like going on an adventure

''The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle'' is Victoria Williamson's debut novel about the friendship between two girls in Scotland, one a local girl and one from a refugee background.

20% of the author royalties will be donated to support Scottish Refugee Council. 

We interviewed Victoria and she shared with us interesting parts of her life and her novel.

‘’Writing a novel is like going on an adventure. Growing up my adventures were all in my imagination - stepping through the magical wardrobes I’d read about in books and fighting dragons I’d seen in films. As an adult, my first real-life adventures began when I became a teacher. I loved to travel, and as well as working in schools in the UK, I also taught for a number of years in Cameroon, Malawi and China. During that time I met many children whose unique stories inspired my writing.’’

The characters in the novel, The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle, are a blend of many of these children’s voices. Caylin, a troubled school bully who is struggling to cope with the loss of her grandfather and deal with her mother’s alcohol addiction, and Reema, a Syrian Muslim refugee whose world has been turned upside down by war, were inspired by some of the children I have taught.

Victoria shared with us the development of her novel’s characters and said: ‘’Caylin was the first character I wrote, and was initially the easiest as many of her happy memories came directly from my own childhood: weekend trips to stay with my grandparents in Drumchapel, visits to feed the squirrels in nearby Dawsholm Park, and primary school sports days watching in awe as my best friend outran all the boys in our class.’’

When the Syrian war began, the scale of the humanitarian crisis that followed was overwhelming, and like many people, I felt powerless to do anything about it. It was then that I decided to include a character in my story whose family had fled the fighting and were trying to build a new life in Glasgow. Little by little Reema’s character began to take shape.

I learned more about Scottish Refugee Council’s work when I was researching the experiences of Syrian refugees settled in Scotland. The Scottish Refugee Council works refugees in Scotland to assist them in integrating into the country. They campaign to improve the legal rights of refugees and work very hard to help people understand the positive role that refugees can play in their new communities.

 I was really impressed by the dedication of their team and the wide range of services they offer. Reading the stories of newly arrived refugees, meeting some of the fundraising team to hear more about their work, and talking in person to young refugees settled in Aberdeen, inspired me to donate twenty percent of my author royalties from The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle to the Scottish Refugee Council.

No book publication would be complete without a celebration launch. On Saturday 21st April The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle will be launched at a special family event in Hillhead Library, Byres Road, Glasgow. As well as an author talk by myself, Lisa Seibold from the Scottish Refugee Council fundraising team will discuss their work, and we have invited a guest refugee speaker to share some of his experiences with the audience.

Guests can celebrate Syrian and Scottish culture with a range of traditional food and drink. There will be a fundraising raffle in aid of the Scottish Refugee Council with fantastic prizes generously donated by many local businesses Prizes include tickets to M&D’s theme park, pottery painting, and circus skills as well as climbing classes, Glasgow Music City Tours, Treasure Trails, activity days and a meal for two at the local Kelbourne Saint.

Everyone is welcome to come along and celebrate the book launch. Free tickets can be booked on Eventbrite if click here

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